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Document Type: Research Brief

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Libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés play a critical role in extending the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to a diverse range of people worldwide. However, their ability to contribute to development agendas has come into question in recent times. The Global Impact Study was designed to address this debate by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs in eight countries: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Lithuania, the Philippines, and South Africa.

The study assesses and describes the interplay between public PC-based Internet access and private mobile-based access for urban teenaged public access venue (PAV) users in Cape Town. South Africa is a particularly fruitful “leading edge” environment to do this work since not only mobile use, but specifically mobile Internet use, is increasingly common even among resource-constrained young people. We combine quantitative surveys with open-ended interviews of users and PAV operators.

Public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play an important role in development. Communities benefit when people can access information and communicate with experts and people in their social networks to learn about health, jobs, education, leisure activities, or whatever inspires them. When access to ICTs is public and available to everyone in the community, such as in public libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés, it can be an effective tool for those that need it most.

In 2010, a massive earthquake struck Chile, followed by a tsunami that devastated several coastal communities. The Libraries, Telecenters, and the 2010 Chile Earthquake project examines post-disaster information and communication needs, services provided by libraries and telecenters, and how emergency management might be improved. Researchers found that libraries and telecenters played an important role in responding to the crisis.

Las bibliotecas y telecentros han jugado un papel fundamental en situaciones de emergencia y esta investigación examina su rol después del terremoto y tsunami que ocurrió en Chile en Febrero del 2010. Las diferentes iniciativas se llevaron a cabo por la necesidad de proporcionar acceso a la comunicación a los ciudadanos de las zonas afectadas, dándoles la oportunidad de recibir información de las consecuencias de la catástrofe y para permitirles comunicarse con amigos y familiares.

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